Mitchell Lennan

AREA OF EXPERTISE: International Law, especially law and the marine environment in the face of climate change.

AFFILIATION: University of Aberdeen (UK)

“I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Environmental Law at the University of Aberdeen Law School in Scotland. I have been at Aberdeen since December 2022, and prior to that I undertook a PhD in Law of the Sea and climate change with a focus on climate adaptation in international fisheries at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. I have been involved in the One Ocean Hub since the beginning and have worked primarily on matters relating to fisheries as well as the unprecedented amount of work on the ocean-climate nexus we have been doing in light of the formal inclusion of the ocean in the international policy discussion on climate change at the United Nations. I am hopeful that my research can help better integrate the ocean into international climate change decision making and help mitigate the impacts of climate change on ocean-dependent communities around the world.”


“I have had the chance to work with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) on fisheries and climate change – presenting the findings of my thesis at a workshop organised by them together with regional fisheries bodies from the Indo-Pacific region.”

Making waves

Mitchell Lennan and fellow early-career researcher Kirsty McQuaid (University of Plymouth, UK) discuss their work on ocean-climate nexus and human rights on the Hub’s Podcast episode 2 ‘Ocean Climate Nexus and Human Rights’. Listen to the episode – here >>

Recent publication

Lennan, M., and Morgera, E., (eds.) ‘Ocean-Based Action: The Ocean-Climate Nexus and Human Rights’ 38(3) The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2023) – read here >>  

Mitchell on leadership

“With the Hub, I have had a number of opportunities to advance the conversation on this topic on multiple levels. Most recently, I have led on submissions to the UK Government, the UNFCCC, and the Special Rapporteur on Climate Change and Human Rights. These have been particularly impactful and it is incredibly rewarding seeing your own work included in a high-level report by the UN or a Government. Another exciting project is a special issue I am co-editing which is to be published in The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law next year. It argues that research priorities on ocean-based climate action should be identified on the basis of the interdependencies of human rights and the climate and ocean nexus across several international processes and fora. I am also collaborating on a number of peer-reviewed publications on the ocean-climate-human rights nexus, including an article on the importance of including the ocean in the upcoming UN General Comment on Children’s Rights and the Environment. On top of the ‘big’ opportunities, there are always smaller projects to lead or participate in including webinars, blog posts, or position papers on particular topics.”

Mitchell’s advice to fellow Early-career researCheRs

“I would like to reiterate Mia Strand’s answer to this question from the previous ECR Spotlight: Always be critical and question as to who is benefitting from the project and why you are undertaking your research and to what ends. I also think self-reflection on your own bias and privileges is also incredibly important. One benefit of being a Hub ECR is that there are many of us, and there are always opportunities to support one another. So, my closing advice would simply be asking for help when you need it and if you are asked for help, give it if you can.”

Read Mitchell’s Spotlight interview – here >>

Artwork: Margherita Brunori